Getting healthy doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a process of committing to small changes, shifts in mindset, and trying new things. My best strategy for navigating that process is to make one change at a time, creating habits that you can stick with. Rather than trying to change everything today (and likely ending up back at square one), make one change (big, small, or anywhere in between) that is doable for you. Not sure what your one change should be? Start here!
Meal prepping is a must-do at my house, especially during my busy seasons (like right now!). It’s so great knowing that my meal prep is done, and I’m literally just going to “grab and cook” next week after a long day at work or late nights after soccer practice.
Why You Should Be Meal Prepping
You’ll inevitably eat better.
Very few of my clients make sound nutrition decisions after a long, tiring day of work. I totally get it. When the work day is over, the last thing I want to do is throw together an elaborate meal. Meal prepping makes the healthy options just as convenient as the unhealthy ones. Plus, YOU get to control the ingredients and the portions so you’re automatically able to make your meal more nutritious than any take out.
You’ll have more time on your hands.
Yes, I know it sounds nutty, but you WILL have more time on your hands, despite the time you’ll spend meal prepping. Doing all of your meal prepping at once saves you tons of time down the line. Think about it – less time deciding what you want to eat, less time taking out the cooking utensils and cutting boards, less time cleaning up dishes, etc. By meal prepping, you’ll get an hour of your life back in the evening!
You’ll spend less on food.
This one sounds counterintuitive too, right? How will meal prepping and buying all of those ingredients save you money? It might be a little costly up front if you need to stock your kitchen with the basics (grains, produce, spices, containers, etc.) but you’ll find yourself with extra cash on hand once you stop eating out so much. Plus, it’s always cheaper to buy food whole and prep it yourself. The cost difference between pre-chopped (or pre-spiralized!) veggies vs buying them whole is real savings.
You’ll improve your skills in the kitchen.
In my opinion, this is one of the best (and least talked about) benefits of meal prepping. Cooking your own meals each week, even if they’re not gourmet, will inevitably improve your kitchen skills. And who doesn’t want to be a ninja with their knives? You know you do!
Different Meal Prep Styles
Meal prepping can look different for everyone. You can fully cook your meals so they’re ready to heat-and-eat or you can prep ingredients to cut down on time spent in the kitchen at each meal. I’ve broken down the most common meal prep styles here:
- Ingredient prepping. Choosing meals ahead of time and preparing the ingredients in advance is a great way to shave off minutes spent cooking during meal time. Trust me, taco night (or any theme night, really) is much easier when you already have your veggies chopped, cooked, and ready…just pull out of the fridge and go!
- Heat-and-eat. This meal prep style is great if you want to come home from a busy day of work and pop a fully cooked meal in the microwave or oven. You can even portion these pre-cooked meals out into individual containers for quick, effortless lunches.
- Slow Cooker Prep. Nobody wants to be cutting onions and slicing up chicken in the morning before work. But if your ingredients are all together and ready to go from doing some meal prepping the night before, you can just throw them into your Crock Pot before you head out the door.
- Freezer or Batch cooking. Batch cooking is a variation of the heat-and-eat meal prep style. The difference here is that you make large batches of food, portion it out into different containers, and pop them in the freezer for future use. This works extremely well with soups and chilis.
Experiment with the different meal prep styles and choose the one that matches up with your lifestyle and schedule!
How to Meal Prep (The Easy Way)
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated. Making this one change can be easy if you do it right! Below are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
- Keep it simple. Set yourself up for success by keeping it simple. When you’re picking your recipes for the week, don’t pick ones with 10+ ingredients and an hours worth of steps. Simple recipes can still be delicious and satisfying!
- Be true to who you are. Choosing a meal prepping method that resonates with you is key to making sure you’re successful. Be sure to choose one that matches up with your lifestyle and schedule.
- Start small. Start small by choosing 2-3 meals to meal prep per week. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make every single meal and snack for the entire week. Starting small gives you a chance to develop the habit of meal prepping in a sustainable way. Once you’re comfortable with the concept of meal prepping, you can grow from there.
- Make a schedule – and stick to it. Set aside time each week to meal plan, grocery shop, and meal prep. Choose times that work for you. You don’t have to meal prep on Sundays because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing. You can meal prep any day of the week that fits your schedule. More on meal planning is below!
- Be mindful of your time. Don’t spend more time on meal planning and prepping than you need to. Trust me, you COULD spend hours doing all of this, but that’s entirely unnecessary. Be mindful of the amount of time you’re spending on each step. For example, if you notice you’re spending an hour each week meal planning and choosing recipes, make an effort to widdle that down to half an hour at most. This can help.
Need some help meal planning?
We all know that healthy meals don’t just happen. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) You have to decide what you’re eating, make your list, buy the ingredients, meal prep, and then cook!
And it all starts with a good plan.
For the next week, you can get your hands on ready-made meal plans with a focus on quick and simple, but delicious, healthy meals – complete with shopping lists and fresh recipes – for a ridiculously low price.
It’s called the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2019 and here’s a taste of what it includes:
- A carefully-curated library of simple, nutritious, whole food recipes, beautifully formatted in 12 digital cookbooks.
- An easy-to-use index for every single recipe, to help you sort by food allergy, eating style, quick meals, cooking method, and more.
- 30+ unique made-for-you meals plans complete with grocery lists and prep reminders (4-week dinner plans, school & work lunch plans, breakfast rotations, party plans, and more!)
- Meal planning printables for those who love paper & pen and creating their own custom plans.
- Plus healthy eating resources on clean eating, a flavor crash course (so your food tastes ah-ma-zing!), strategies for helping kids with pickiness, allergies or oral SPD, and more!
No need to search the internet for recipes, only to emerge an hour later from the Pinterest rabbit hole. Have you been there before? I sure have! With the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, you’ll have hundreds of recipes available in one place, so you can find what you need quickly, without distraction.
Start your New Year right by picking up your copy of the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle right HERE!